Considering I wrote two separate ‘The 4’ articles that were dedicated to sacred movies, one might refer to me as a remake snob. There are too many classic films being made that did not deserve the remake treatment. Most of these filmmaking attempts tarnish the original’s image. The Bad News Bears, Total Recall and Footloose are all perfect examples of films that should have been preserved in their original form. The next stop on the Hollywood remake train is RoboCop, a model of what not to do when remaking a classic.
The new RoboCop takes place in 2028 Detroit with Joel Kinnaman as our machine-man-cop, Murphy. Most of RoboCop actually takes place overseas in the Middle East and China rather than crime-riddled Motor City. Here lies the first problem with RoboCop is the use of Detroit in the plot. In the first film, Detroit was an actual character with its dilapidated buildings, thugs running wild on the streets and the real life truth that Detroit is a war zone. Most of the fighting scenes visible in the trailers are from Murphy’s training in China and the opening Middle East sequence with the ED-209s and drones that are used for our military actions in the future. The Detroit we all know has been stripped of reality and paraded as a normal city in the remake.
The evil environment of Detroit is not the only thing missing. RoboCop is left without a main antagonist. The original movie had the street gang led by Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) who was backed by the evil businessman Dick Jones (Ronny Cox). The villains stole the show in the original film, but this time around – the closest thing we get is Kelly Leak from The Bad News Bears as a weapons expert. The only way I would be remotely intimated by Jackie Earl Haley was if he was wearing his Rorschach mask from Watchmen. When the villains finally do show up in RoboCop, their reasoning and intentions don’t carry a great deal of weight. Every hero needs a villain and RoboCop fails at giving the metal cop a worthy adversary.
In defense of the studios green lighting these remakes, it’s hard to balance giving the audience something fresh while still paying respect to the original. Unfortunately, RoboCop takes out all the foul, funny and bloody fun out of the original and gives us this poor excuse for a remake. The physiological problems Murphy deals with are delivered out-of-order in my opinion and prevents the audience from connecting with our metal man. Some critics may say you need to treat the new RoboCop as its own film. I say hogwash to them. If you’re going to try to capitalize on a hero from my youth with a lackluster PG-13 remake, you better be ready for some criticism from this child of the 1980s. On a side note, the correct pronunciation is “ED’ like the horse and not “E” “D” 209 as in your crappy new remake. Blasphemy!
Overall I give RoboCop 1.5 out of 4 non-worthy remake stars.
Read all my Movie Reviews here >>